CCW Visiting Research Fellowship Programme 

Dr Johnson, members of CCW, and University of Oxford colleagues mentor professional Visiting Fellows of the CCW Centre. The Visiting Research Fellows to CCW are drawn from across the academic and professional worlds, with senior officers of the United States, European and United Kingdom armed forces especially strongly represented. Three officers of the Chinese PLA attend annually and are taught, tutored and supported as part of their professional military education, and as the means to develop a better mutual insight into the strategic thinking of China and the West. Their duties involve support in this area for the government of China, the Academy of Military Science and the Defence University of Beijing.

Our VRFs often join CCW prior to taking up a major new appointment, using their time with us to develop their thinking, broadening their understanding and engaging with some of the most respected academic specialists. In other cases, senior visitors have had the opportunity, through CCW, to articulate and test their ideas, and obtain rigorous feedback. Amongst these, James de Waal, a senior civil servant, was able to develop his work on civil-military relations and its effect on the making of policy.

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“After a life largely outside academic circles, I needed considerable guidance and this was readily and generously given by my supervisor at Oxford University, Sir Hew Strachan… I worked at Oxford within the Changing Character of Warfare Programme…and I am grateful for the considerable help given by the Directors, Dr Rob Johnson and Dr Jan Lemnitzer, and the programme coordinator Ruth Murray as I unravelled what the University had to offer.”
— Major-General (rtd) Christopher Elliott, in the Prologue to High Command (Hurst, 2015)


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CCW welcomes applications from outstanding individuals for its long-running and successful Visiting Fellowship Programme. Visiting Research Fellows (VRFs) are members of the CCW Programme for one academic year or less. While not enrolled on a formal degree course, and as such do not gain any recognised qualification from the university, they engage with one or more of the Programme’s research themes and receive individual support to do so. The subject of their research is submitted as a proposal to the Steering Committee. The VRF then works on this specific project during their time in Oxford, and is able to meet with academics working in related fields and to attend CCW events. They also have the opportunity to have a paper, reviewed by other members of the Programme. 


All Visiting Fellowships must be approved by the Steering Committee. Each application will be considered on its own academic merit and the capacity of the Programme to offer appropriate supervision and support.

Please submit a research proposal (1000 words) and CV to the Programme Administrator to be presented to the Committee, along with details of two referees and information about how the fellowship is to be funded (see below). The research proposal should specify the expected output of the research (for example, a journal article) as well as how the project relates to the Programme’s current research priorities.

Please ensure that the outcome is achievable in the length of time available for the fellowship. If a letter of invitation is required for the funding application, this can be arranged and acceptance will be conditional on funding being secured.

 (Early applications are encouraged):

  • Entry in Michaelmas Term 2018 – 1 June 2018
  • Entry in Hilary Term 2019 – 3 October 2018
  • Entry in Trinity Term 2019 – 9 January 2019

We are particularly interested in seeing applications to conduct individual items of research in the following areas:

  • Combined Effects Operations

  • Strategic Thinking, Planning and Appreciation

  • Civil-Military Relations

  • Cyber operations; integrated cyber with other lines of operation

  • Future violent non-state actors and their likely modus operandi

  • Metrics for operational effect

  • Economic considerations in making strategy

  • Psychological operations

  • Ethical considerations in the battlespace

  • The value and vulnerability of small formations

  • Staff work and headquarters for 21st century warfare

  • Future A2AD

  • Carrier operations in A2AD environments

  • War in global and democratised media

  • Chinese military and naval modernisation

  • Israeli counter insurgency


We normally have between six and ten VRFs each term. In general they are either senior academics taking a Sabbatical from their own institution, or practitioners, including senior members of the armed forces, international organisations and NGOs, journalists, civil servants, and diplomatic staff. During their time in Oxford, most of our Visiting Research Fellows have an association with Pembroke College. Here they have the opportunity to mix with the Fellows of the College in the beautiful, fifteenth-century Broadgates Hall. Founded in 1624, Pembroke counts Samuel Johnson, Sir William Blackstone, and James Smithson among its alumni. More recent distinguished members include Michael Heseltine, former Deputy Prime Minister, and in the USA, Senators Fulbright and Lugar, to name but a few.